By Guy Page
A former Winooski lawmaker supports Gov. Phil Scott’s veto of non-citizen voting.
In a letter to the Legislature, Democrat George Cross asks instead for a study of the pros and cons of town-by-town approval vs. a statewide approach. Cross served as Winooski Superintendent of Schools until 1999 and then served 10 years in the House. The 30-year city resident is the adopted father of two naturalized daughters and has worked with the city’s New American community.
At today’s press conference, Gov. Scott read the letter in which Cross says, “I wish to urge you to support Gov. Scott’s veto of the Winooski and Montpelier charter changes.”
A variable town-by-town approach creates inconsistency and unfairness, Cross said. “Simply allowing local voters will establish a patchwork of who can vote and on what,” Scott ad-libbed while reading the letter. “I’m not opposed to it philosophically.”
Cross said a state law could clearly define what “non-citizen” means, what they can and can’t vote on, and which offices they can and cannot hold. The Montpelier and Winooski charter changes answer these questions differently. “The two changes on the table are not equitable,” Cross said.
At 10 AM tomorrow, the Vermont Senate will convene to discuss the governor’s veto of S107, raising from 19 to 20 the maximum age of charging as a juvenile. Gov. Scott vetoed the bill because the State has failed to deliver on its promise to provide services for at-risk youths when it raised the age of adult accountability to 19.
“At the time, I was assured that, prior to the automatic increases in age prescribed in the bill, plans would be in place to provide access to the rehabilitation, services, housing and other supports needed to both hold these young adults accountable and help them stay out of the criminal justice system in the future.
“This has not yet been the case. In addition to ongoing housing challenges, programs designed and implemented for children under 18 are often not appropriate for those over 18. Disturbingly, there are also reports of some young adults being used – and actively recruited – by older criminals, like drug traffickers, to commit crimes because of reduced risk of incarceration, potentially putting the young people we are trying to protect deeper into the criminal culture and at greater risk.”